Cochran here …
I was only ever an onlooker of sorts at South Bondi, and that was only for a couple of years from about age sixteen to twenty, then, like many before me I shot through for distant parts only to come back many years later to a beach that had changed forever. But that’s the way of Bondi, the southern corner in particular, that litter of sunbaked rocks where we gathered under the low cliff in what must have been the loosest corporation of club members in the country. Members who paid no fees, had no book of rules, held no meetings, elected no officials, wore no uniforms and had no clubhouse. The only item on the agenda was to get out the back.
These members numbered only about thirty in memory .. a couple of youngsters amongst them learning the ropes and no shortage of the loveliest most under-dressed women ever to excite the rigid sensibilities of the white-hatted beach inspectors. These men of course belonged to the middle and north end of Bondi where happy families picnicked and the newer Australians liked to congregate and be watched over lest they drowned. An unsettling thought to some but one we paid no mind to, knowing the seas as we did.
Over the years a few survivors of those early days have come by here and dropped a word, Scott Dillon for one, and of course the biggest, noisiest, best looking, womanising scourge of both the north and south coasts.
Andy Cochran. Rivalled only by Bluey Mayes in the mug lair stakes. If this bloke was down at South Bondi you knew nothing was happening anywhere else and if he wasn’t then finding out where he’d got to was the work of Nations.
These days when someone gets back from an surfing trek they’ll assail you with photos and bore you stupid with stories: not so back then when every spot south of Maroubra was a secret as was everything north of Palm Beach.
Anyway, enough of that.
Andy C sent me a note today from his home in Hawaii, not the first and I hope not the last because the old lad must be getting on and I should know that being a bit long in the tooth myself.
I thought it might read better if I tarted it up, got rid of the caps, fixed up a bit of the spelling, organised some punctuation – Words matter, you see. Yours, his, mine, whoever, when all’s just about done that’s all we have left for each other. Our words.
Take it away Andy.
A LITTLE COMMENT: TO THIS DAY I CANT SAY I REMEMBER AN ASS HOLE, WE WE WERE SO LUCKY TO HAVE GROWN UP IN THE COMPANY OF PEOPLE THAT TO THIS DAY HAD SOME KIND OF IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE, IF IT WASN’T FOR MAGOO I WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN A FIREMAN, AND BARRY ROSS, ROSS KELLY, DESIE PRICE, BLUEY, DILLON!
WHAT AN ERA,WE COULD GO ON AND ON WITH ALL THE STORIES THAT THEY LEFT WITH US AND THE IMPRESSIONS AND STANDARD OF LIFE WE HAVE ENJOYED TILL NOW,
ALL I CAN SAY IS MY MEMORIES OF BONDI AND ITS PEOPLE WILL LIVE WITH ME FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I AM SO THANKFUL THAT AT THE START OF SURFING I WAS PART OF IT.
SO THATS IT FOR NOW, SORRY FOR THE SPELLING, I AM ONE WHO TRIES TO PUT ON PAPER HOW MUCH THAT TIME MEANT TO ME AND THE GREAT PEOPLE WE HAD TIME TO SPEND WITH IN OUR EARLIER DAYS.
I ONLY WRITE WHAT I FEEL, AND IT WAS A GREAT FEELING.
BEST TO ALL WHO ARE STILL ALIVE TO REMEMBER
AND BONDI FOR EVER AND EVER.
Amen to that.